Bring Some Freshness into Holiday Dinners with Brenda Martinez’s Pozole Verde de Pollo

The pro runner's family recipe for pozole makes for an amazing pre-holiday meal to gather everyone together.

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In between the turkey, ham, casseroles, and leftover sandwiches, consider making something warming and hearty but fresh-tasting for family. “I don’t usually cook for holidays. I just show up on an empty stomach!” Brenda Martinez says. Martinez, 2016 Olympian and world championships silver medalist, doesn’t remember a holiday without a huge stock pot of pozole verde de pollo simmering away. “It’s always my favorite to be around each other laughing and talking while eating pozole, going back to the pot for more,” she says. Pozole is a traditional Mexican stew, and can be made with a red or green base (Martinez’s family recipe is tomatillo-based.) Reading through the ingredients, it may seem like too much hominy, but it’s actually just the right amount to make sure every bite has the chewy, tasty texture of the traditional maize. You can save time here by using a store-bought rotisserie chicken and stock, though the flavors may not be as fresh.

Photo: Julia Vandenoever

Pozole Verde de Pollo


  • 4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 head plus 2 cloves garlic, peeled, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems chopped
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • 10 to 12 tomatillos, husked
  • 6 jalapeños, stemmed
  • 1/2 cup granulated chicken bouillon (such as Knorr)
  • 1 (6 lb., 9 oz.) can of hominy
  • Lemon wedges, radish slices, and shredded cabbage, for serving


  1. Step 1

    Fill a large Dutch oven with water and bring to a boil over high. Add chicken, garlic, onion, and bay leaves. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 2 hours.

  2. Step 2

    In a medium saucepan, add 2 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add tomatillos, jalapeños, and remaining 2 cloves garlic. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

  3. Step 3

    Drain peppers and garlic, and add to blender. Add cilantro leaves and stems, and blend until smooth, about 20 to 30 seconds. Pour puree into Dutch oven. Add bouillon and hominy, and cook at medium heat for 20 minutes.

  4. Step 4

    Garnish servings with lemon wedges, radish slices, and shredded cabbage.